Basically I have a non compete at my current job and I notified my future employer of this. Even though my current employer does not usually exercise it, I want to be cautious. When I leave my current job, if I don't notify them of my future employer's company name and keep quiet on social networks like LinkedIn etc, can I avoid the risk of them exercising the non compete?


closed as off-topic by Masked Man, gnat, Mister Positive, paparazzo, Chris E Mar 20 '17 at 13:18

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking advice on company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies should be directed to your manager or HR department. Questions that address only a specific company or position are of limited use to future visitors. Questions seeking legal advice should be directed to legal professionals. For more information, click here." – Masked Man, gnat, Mister Positive, paparazzo, Chris E
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    Where are you? The legality of non-competes depends on your location. And some companies will try and tie you a non-compete that is illegal to enforce. But in general legal advice requires seeing a lawyer - and that can be money well spent. – Peter M Mar 20 '17 at 11:48
  • 2
    In general, accepting to sign a non-compete is not a very smart move. If I were you, I would avoid it in the future. This of course depends on location and profession. – Radu Murzea Mar 20 '17 at 12:26
  • 1
    VTC -- Legal question – Mister Positive Mar 20 '17 at 12:53
  • 2
    @JoeStrazzere I don't see how you can measure the risk your referring too without understanding the contents of the agreement(s) signed by the OP. Best thing about these forums is we can respectfully disagree and let the community decide. – Mister Positive Mar 20 '17 at 13:01
  • 3
    @JoeStrazzere But the risk is legal. His company may have legal options to discover the new work place. He may be legally required to disclose. There may be legal penalties for not disclosing. – paparazzo Mar 20 '17 at 13:05

When I leave my current job, if I don't notify them of my future employer's company name and keep quiet on social networks like LinkedIn etc, can I avoid the risk of them exercising the non compete?

Violating a non-compete agreement and hoping that it simply won't be noticed may reduce the risk but certainly cannot avoid it.

Certainly never exposing your employer's name on any social networks or LinkedIn could help.

But you might also need to avoid any professional networking, avoid conferences, make sure you never encounter colleagues who used to work with you, make sure your spouse, children and friends don't talk about your employer, etc.

You might also want to be sure that your future clients don't know of your prior employer. Many folks who jump to a competitor are expected to bring their former clients along with them. Doing so will clearly increase your risk of being caught and perhaps sued.

You can certainly reduce the risk that your employer finds out about your violation, but you simply cannot avoid it. It's a small world, and some risk will clearly remain.

If you are actually concerned about that, you should consult your lawyer.

I have a non compete at my current job and I notified my future employer of this.

So your future employer is willing to hire you in spite of your disclosed non-compete agreement. For me, that might say something about your future employer.

Perhaps they have concluded that your non-compete is not enforceable (in which case you might be unnecessarily worried). Or perhaps they just don't care either way (in which case that would worry me).

  • 1
    For that last bit about the future employer (FE), without knowing the text of the non-compete you can't ascribe any motivation/behavior/etc to them. It could be that the non-compete is pure BS and that they recognize it, or it could mean that the FE is sleazy. We have no way of telling the difference given the the information provided by the OP. And I don't think you can use the OP's rationale as indicative of the FE's behavior. – Peter M Mar 20 '17 at 12:48
  • But we don't know if they said nothing. That's another assumption! LOL. But anyway I know where you are coming from. The FE could just be on the hook for damages as much as the OP if the FE is accused of using trade secrets etc unfairly gained by the OP ignoring the non-compete. As such the FE should be seeing the OP as a liability - if the non-compete is valid. (which I just wrote without seeing you comment above) – Peter M Mar 20 '17 at 13:00
  • Hey it's OP here. I work in trading and the non compete prohibits me from working in any investment role for 9 months, whether it be directly managing investments or giving advice. – Joe Mar 20 '17 at 13:31

It honestly all depends on the wording of the non-compete agreement that you signed. I've seen some that are very generic and honestly too broad to be enforced, but I've also seen some that go as far as to list specific companies that are off limits.

If working for the new company violates the agreement then you're taking a risk, sure you lessen that risk by not advertising your new job publicly but it's still a risk. You could be penalized monetarily if the employer can prove that there was actual loss to their business, for example if you worked with a client and that client takes their business to your new company. Or you can charged punitive damages for malicious behavior since you agreed to the non-compete but then violated it.

I worked as a software developer for a business that had a non-compete that, in writing, supposedly prevented me from working for ANY company that did any sort of programming in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. I took the document to a lawyer and they said that there would be no way to enforce that on someone.

  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere You don't know that and should not be dispensing legal advice. – paparazzo Mar 20 '17 at 13:03
  • @JoeStrazzere Not going to get in dispute with you but "past employer could go after them instead of or in addition to the OP himself" sure is legal advice to me. – paparazzo Mar 20 '17 at 13:08

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.